tv [untitled] October 6, 2011 9:00pm-9:30pm PDT
i would like to announce our sfgtv staff, thank you for your work. also, i would like him to walk in the audience who is here today. please call item number 1. >> item 1, resolution urging government agencies to work together to develop a free muni fast trpass for san francisco youth. >> i have been a long time muni rider with lots of fond memories. when my wife and i got married, we took the muni to our wedding. it was an unforgettable ride.
we are still on it, i think. supporting transportation for youth is vitally important for the city and something that i have personally seen many affect -- seen affect many families. the school trollopdraws from ant of san francisco. there are those that go from many distances. we have seen a 43% cut in our school buses. 25 yellow buses to serve all san francisco youth by 2013. it is clear that this city is making decisions that is working against our young people and the
quality of their education. the need to address student access to transportation is more urgent than ever. the san francisco miscible transportation agency, the mta, and the school district implemented the lifeline program has a distribution for low income students with limited out reach for this program, the demand for this far exceeded the supply. the economic crisis is affecting the increase in fares, especially those for latinos, and african-americans. unemployment reached 9.3%. the children on free and reduced lunched has jumped from 54% to 61%. oi have been hearing from parens
who are struggling financially to get their children to school. in two years, the cost of the fast pass increase by 110%. this translates into our youth not able to get to their after- school programs, internships, libraries. the indicators are clear, transportation must be addressed and access to transportation is more urgent than ever. with the proposal, all san franciscans between the ages of 5 and 17 would be remind -- would be eligible for a free bus pass that can be used 24/7. they can get to work, doctors' appointments. they would be able to take advantage of libraries, museums,
parks. this is about fairness and equal access to opportunity. muni is like aso to the jury system in san francisco. we will be able to understand the ridership patterns and where resources need to be invested. we will be looking for a long- term sustainable source of funding. i will now ask supervisor campos to explain about the program's visibility and the cost benefit of providing free muni to youth in san francisco. [applause] >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank my colleagues for allowing me to sit in on the committee and to all of the members of the public, and especially our young people who have come out to be here today. i also want to a knowledge to
work of sheila who is in the back of the room. let's give her a big round of applause for all of the work on this. we will hear from the head of our new transportation agency. >> thank you for being here and for making yourself available since even before you started to talk about this issue. from my perspective, there are many reasons why this is a good idea but i want to highlight a couple of points that for me really go to the heart of why this makes sense for the city and county of san francisco. one of this and that the mayor has been talking about since he
assumed this position was how we need to make san francisco a more livable city for families. this is something at the heart of what we are trying to do, making public transit more accessible. this is true when it comes to families that are struggling because of the current state of our economy. supervisor avalos talked about some of the numbers but that really is the driving -- what is driving this piece of legislation. how do we make san francisco more livable for families? since we talked about this idea, i have heard from some many parents, so many families who tell me that this is something that we really need. that is the first thing.
the second thing is really about making this commitment to being a transit first city. by making public transit accessible to young people, you are essentially investing in the creation of the future generation of riders. the reality is that no transit system, whether it is in san francisco or any part of the country can be sustained unless you have ridership. this is about creating the future ridership. those are the two are overarching points that i think are very important. connected to that is also the issue that when you have more people riding public transit, taking public transit, you are helping to make sure that we protect our environment and that
is something that is very important. all of these points are connected. in thinking about this issue, we wanted to make sure that this was done in a thoughtful, responsible way because we are mindful that we live in tough economic times and we are talking about an agency that has had challenges. it is not likely said overnight that we want to have free muni for all of the youth, let's do it. we have been working for a number of months and i don't know how many meetings we have had this has been a very extensive process. we have had dozens of meetings talking about what it would make to make this happen. -- what it would take to make this act. for this to happen, it has to be fiscally responsible.
we cannot say that we want this to happen, we have to find the funding and resources to make it reality. my office asks the office of legislative analyst to do a study said that we have an objective analysis of what it would take to actually make this a reality and that report has come out and we will hear later on from the budget and legislative analyst about some of the numbers. what we know is that the numbers that have been identified our numbers that are possible. it is not surprising that other cities are already doing something like this. san francisco has been leading the way on other fronts, why would they be part of that leadership across the country? i think it is important to put
this into the context that we have new leadership and i have been very pressed with how they have really hit the ground running. those challenges provide an opportunity coupled with this effort to figure out how to make this happened but to make it happen in a way that creates a better system. in many respects, this addresses some of the larger issues that the mta is facing. what this resolution does, and i want to be clear, is that it calls upon all of the relevant agencies within the city to work clabber to flee within those agencies and with the community to explore how we make this happen and it does so in a way
that makes sure that finding is identified and to make sure that the funding is there an it is implemented in a way that does not hurt the system but in fact improves this service. that is what this is about. we have in our careful examination identified sources of funding. this must be a joint effort and not only within the city and county of san francisco, but we're also talking about san francisco unified school district, also private schools so that all of the local institutions are part of the solution. we also have to think regionally. it is important for the region as a whole. half of the ridership is here in san francisco.
the regional agency that oversees transportation funding and it is charged with the responsibility of having better planning, this is also a part of the equation and discussion and there are possible sources of funding which could be utilized for this effort. i look forward to hearing from the youth, especially from the public. i look forward to a more in- depth discussion with my colleagues. again, this is something that is doable and we should be able to make this a reality. the last piece that is important and something i have spoken to the mayor about and he has raised this possibility, the possibility of private funding. there are those making
investments in our community, education. they could also be a part of the solution. i believe that that is probably supervisor mar, if you want to. >> thank you. i wanted to start with a personal note. with the numerous rallies and efforts to educate the supervisors and people in city hall about this campaign, one of the slogans ranks true to me because this is my daughter's school bus. this affects me as a family man to make sure that my daughter gets to school on time and can access those resources. where is this movement coming from?
i really think the head of the mta for being here as well. we are listening and responsive to parents and new leaders coming out of this movement. we have been hearing every day from the beginning of this year for the need for more muni to make our transit policy. this is very clear that the demand for many neighborhoods and people that really need it exceeds the supply that has been out there from the city and the school district. groups from every corner of the city with young people in the lead are organizing and making demands on this issue to many of our offices. i want to say there are a number
of organizations involved and i will name some of them. pardon me if i for get some of the organizations. this is a growing coalition that includes our, the chinatown community development center, the jamestown community center, the senior action network, the more public transit coalition that was a broad coalition that came together. they have been doing this since early 2011. i agree with the supervisor and thank him for his leadership with this important ordinance, he would be eligible for a free pass that can be used 24 hours a
day, seven days a week which will help everyone get to school. i think that there is the effort that it brings everyone together. also to get to work if they work and anywhere they need to go. part of the duty is that this is insuring that there is increased access but also encouraging young people to participate in all aspects of civic life and also to be new leaders for the communities. this is about equal access to opportunity. i want to make one point that there is growing support for many different entities, not only grassroots efforts, but also internally.
the recent passage by the commission of a strongly worded resolution shows a strong effort and priority for the use commission. the student advisory council passed a resolution in support and i believe that the board of education is considering a resolution and my guess is that they will be supporting it at the upcoming meetings. i applaud the coalition of and support for this effort and thank you for immobilizing it. i look forward to hearing the testimony. >> thank you. i would like to ask mr. riskin
to come up here. one of the things we have talked about as we are talking about not only add to find the funds that would pay for any revenue loss if we were to implement this but also any strain on the system. we're also working on other issues in terms of creating efficiencies, efficiencies that are needed independent of this effort, efficiencies that if they are addressed which would not only help with the overall service but also create or free up some funds for this effort and certainly we have talked about the issue of the work orders. there is a report coming out that we will be hearing about in the near future. also the issue of overtime. muni is the largest department in terms of the amount of overtime that is incurred.
again, thank you very much and thank you for all the time and energy you have put into this. >> thank you and good afternoon chair person of a los -- to chair person avalos. it is good to see a grass-roots system emerge. some might prefer other modes of transportation and that is something i will get to. i think this is a good public discussion for us to have. i think this speech to the importance of muni in our city and trying to realize that transit first policy established back in 1973.
i think it is great we're having this discussion. it would be very easy for any of you to sit up there and say, make this free. what's not to like? it looks good. >> supervisor campos has undertaken this initiative and a very thoughtful way into not just issued an unfunded mandate but you really think through the different issues to work with the stakeholders to identify funding. this makes for a real policy discussion which is one we would want to have. >> i appreciate the approach and i have one comment i would like to make and that is to ban the blue angels from flying over our airspace.
>> my realm of responsibility is ground transportation. those flights are affecting our budget. >> a few points i would want to make reference in the opening comments. the state of affairs for muni and the mta are that we are looking at a $23 million shortfall as far as are expenditures exceeding our revenue, our baseline for next year. we have closing to do just to end the year within our budget. if that means cutting things so that we can and the fiscal year within our budget. what that does not address are the needs of the system that we
have not adequately funded over the years such as maintenance of the vehicles, which leads to read about -- reliability issues, cleanliness of the issues. all of these things that make this not the preferred mode of transportation of choice. we have a level of funding to meet our basic service requirements if you don't count special events and work around where we have system failures. we have a number of electricians, mechanics, car cleaners that we need to operate a world class system. we maintain for basic safety. we don't have the funds right now to maintain for cleanliness and convenience. we have a structural problem and we will do what we need to do to
bring the budget this year but this does not address the rest of the gap that we have underfunded for years if not decades. i put that as context because to the extent that we're able to identify funding for this initiative, which i think is laudable, we would still be making a trade-off verses those of their essential needs and that needs to be part of the discussion. that is our fiscal reality. i want to commend the budget analyst for a very good report and identifying the expenditure impact and the revenue. i will say that i think that it
is a good analysis. there is definitely some guest work involved. they did a thoughtful and intelligent analysis. there are some assumptions in their such as that we would not to provide extra service. we already have quite a number of lines and some of the youth in this room know that they are beyond capacity right now, particularly in the afternoons. i have gotten some complaints from both students and it non students trying to get on our vehicles in the afternoon. the budget analyst report assumes no capacity increases as a result of this which is an underlying assumption of how much more ridership we would get from this initiative. >> i think they assume capacity
increase, they just don't assume any service increased to handle that. there is an increase of 10,000 riders. there is zero assumption of any accommodation by the mta to to be fair to the budget analysts, what they're saying in other cases where demand has increased, we don't throw more buses on the street so it's a reasonable assumption. i don't dispute. i just want to point out that in the analysis, so what comes out is $7 million, if there is -- if we do need to add more buses, that number could go up. and then i guess the only point i would make as to how we think about this going forward is there's kind of -- if the full extreme is free muni for everybody, and we're talking about -- which is a concept i know has come up before. and i could make a good
argument for. what we're talking about is free muni for all youth. 5 to 17. i think there is a question about 18years old who are still in school. i've had a number of folks who don't stop at 17. but moving in the other direction, there are ways to minimize the revenue impact of this such as limiting times of day, days of week, months of year, limiting by income levels. and i appreciate reasons not to do all of those things. the other thing i would suggest considering is a much reduced as opposed to a free fast pass. not only because that minimizes the revenue impact, but because that is an argument to be made that engenders buy-in, that people value something that they pay for, even if it's a very phenomenal amount. so i just kind of offer those for your consideration. what i would say in closing is we will be bringing this probably as an informational
item to our board in two weeks, a week and a half on -- i think it's the 18th of october. and we're scheduling the item for 4:00 p.m. as you have. so that we can make sure to have an opportunity to hear from the youth and the parents and the public. what ultimately i would be comfortable in recommending to the m.t.a. board in terms of moving forward is the scenario that i think supervisor campos was -- worked very hard to get toward, which is one that is fiscally sustainable. such that it basically does no harm to our fragile circumstance. so if we can develop, we have good understanding of what the costs are and we have an ongoing source of revenues to support the costs of this initiative, that's something i would feel comfortable recommending to my board and they still have tradeoffs to a